Spring Forward; Stepping Into Quarter Two Calm and With A Sense Of AdventureApr 03, 2022
By Hayley McDonnell
It's the month of Easter, and Spring is really getting going. Lighter nights have arrived – it is one of my favourite months! So let's dive into all things April!
April hosts; International Day for Monuments and Sites, better known as World Heritage Day, which promotes awareness about the diversity of the cultural heritage of humanity. Diversity and culture are the building blocks of us all, so an opportunity for us all to get involved. This year the selected theme of "Heritage and Climate" offers the chance to respond to questions such as how to employ climate justice and equity to protect heritage and how we may achieve equitable protection of vulnerable communities through climate action. Again topics that are even more pertinent and are relevant to us all.
April is also the start of the second quarter of the year and feels like a great time to think about refreshing a few things in your home, as everything seems to be more visible after the winter. Coupled with the fact that we have more energy from the lighter days to get more done. There are no excuses now to get rid of those cobwebs that the winter was nicely hiding and seem to spring out of nowhere. If we can get our home sorted out now, it will be far more under control by Summer and give you more chances to relax and enjoy the better weather.
Why not organise some days out? The local park for a picnic is a winner, a simple trip to your local historical building or even one a little further away connects you with culture and heritage at the same time. Take a picnic and enjoy!
If you stay at home, some organising still needs to be done. Those with younger children can sort out clothes and toys from the winter months and replace anything that needs it, and it is a great time to organise summer school uniforms, lighter jackets and shoes ready for the warmer months coming our way.
Did you know, the need for a Spring clean originally came from houses having open fires in every room, heating the whole home during the winter. The build-up of dust and soot had nowhere to go, so when the lighter days and warmer weather came, the open fire was no longer needed, but the whole house needed a thorough clean. Few of us live like this anymore, so the necessity of having a day to demarcate the Spring clean is not part of our routine. We have to build it in consciously.
Spring cleaning is needed just as much as decluttering and sorting for us all today. Perhaps you can make a start; this is a marathon, not a sprint. A spring clean is a big project and can seem overwhelming, so break the task into categories to beat any thoughts of procrastination.
How about using April as the month to physically change from the winter food plan of soups, stews, and casseroles to creating a weekly meal planner with fresh, lighter foods to rejuvenate your mealtime pleasures? Find the BBQ and clean it up! There's a chance that nice weather will join us.
Is your house and lifestyle in order?
It isn't too late to start if you haven't been organised yet. Indeed right now is the best place to start – no one has fallen behind others; this is your schedule, lifestyle, and choices. Take time to check through what is working and be prepared to make changes for the better if needed.
Who helps you?
I was brought up to believe that domestic help/external help was for other people. My lifestyle is quite different from my parent's, and I know that utilising extra help weekly will help me be a better person all round.
Work, family life, domestic life, writing and everything else in between made life very busy, and there were just not enough hours in the day to do it all, no matter how hard I tried. I've attempted to delegate writing newsletters and e-mails to someone else, create courses with my content to an external VA, and thought about why I haven't continued with both. What we as a family have continued with is a weekly cleaner who provides me with a few extra hours a week whilst I can devote my own time to doing the things that only I can do. I also win by getting a bit of extra peace of mind too.
I'm not going to lie, I did have to push through the guilt of feeling I should be able to do it all, and this is part of our cultural and parental upbringing - we can make a change though. Remember, you cannot do it all, and busy professional women, entrepreneurs and business owners are consistently making a positive impact in their field of expertise, so it's time to accept and embrace the help available.
Perhaps employ a cleaner, a window cleaner, and send out your ironing. Remember you are in charge of how long and who you work with. Organise the family to form part of the schedule of helping out where and when they can.
A skill swap can work well in the business world, and there is every reason it can work at home, too—swap ironing with a friend for batch cooking, for example. Whatever works for you and your lifestyle is good enough.
Ultimately the aim is to find the time and space to connect with yourself and others in your family and community to develop deeper, stronger connections and celebrate our similarities over our differences.
My second book 'SMSC throughout the year' will be ready in 2022. Each month considers a cultural, religious or spiritual event pertinent to the month; there is a sowing and reaping schedule to take part in and vegetarian recipes for each month using fruit and vegetables sown from the garden. Each month, there are craft activities and discussion questions for you and those you want to connect with.
Here are the discussion questions for you all this month. Let me know how you get on.
Social - After the Winter months, we are ready to connect again meaningfully with others. Take some time to consider who you would like to spend time with first and then connect with them today, you might not meet up first, but the connection will be there.
Moral – Why should we look after places of cultural and heritage importance? Who should have the responsibility for sustaining them?
Spiritual – What are you ready to let go of this month, and what are you willing to embrace?
Cultural – Find somewhere new to visit this month, learn about its history, the people connected to it. Work out what you have in common.
Hayley McDonnell is a Personal Development/SMSC consultant and author intent on bridging the gap between countries, cultures, customs and ultimately people with “Global Collaboration” Her aim is to make our world feel smaller by connecting with our similarities and embracing our differences. She loves to travel and meet new people from different backgrounds, countries and cultures. You can find out more about Hayley here.
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